Financial Capability & Human Services Education

Financial Capability

A key aim of the Financial Capability and Asset Building (FCAB) initiative is to address the wide gap in professional training of practitioners who serve low- and moderate-income households. In this way, we hope to increase financial capability among households that today receive little or no financial guidance or counseling. 

Curriculum Development. An initial goal and accomplishment  was to develop and test a  curriculum to equip social workers to work with financially vulnerable families and communities. Social work programs in 19 minority-serving institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions, were the initial group to test the curriculum. It is now being adapted in other countries, such as Singapore and China. This curriculum development led to the first FCAB textbook for social work, Financial Capability and Asset Building in Vulnerable Households: Theory and Practice.  For additional online curriculum materials that augment the textbook and serve as resources for training social workers and other human services professionals, see FCAB educational resources.

Research. In collaboration with the Council on Social Work Education, surveyed  social work faculty in the United States measuring household financial and economic content currently being taught in social work courses, and assessing faculty perceptions about the usefulness of financial and economic content to social work students. Outcomes of the study inform FCAB research, practice, and education in social work. The study was funded by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), and featured in its Spring 2018 NEFE Digest.

Funding Partners: Wells Fargo AdvisorsArthur Vining Davis Foundations, National Endowment for Financial Education

Principal Investigators

Margaret Sherraden

Margaret Sherraden

CSD Research Professor; Washington University in St. Louis​
Financial Capability: Combining Access and Abilities,
Civic Service and Engagement

Julie  Birkenmaier

Julie Birkenmaier

CSD Faculty Director; Saint Louis University
Financial Capability: Combining Access and Abilities

Project Directors

Gena Gunn McClendon

Gena Gunn McClendon

Director of Community Engagement,
Director of the Voter Access and Engagement initiative,
Codirector of the Financial Capability and Asset Building initiative

Lissa Johnson

Lissa Johnson

CSD Associate Director; Director of Administration and Research;
Co-Director Financial Capability and Asset Building